HEAR THIS: Early B “DJ Origination”

Special Request To The Original Doctor, Going Down In Dancehall History

One more reason to remember September 11: Seven years after Peter Tosh’s 1987 murder in Kingston, the foundation dancehall artist Early B The Doc was killed by a stray shot in a Boston dancehall session 15 years ago today. To call Early B a dancehall legend doesn’t nearly do the man justice. He was a DJ’s DJ, a styistic innovator, a mentor and sparring partner of Super Cat the Don Dada, and a vast repository of information who crammed as much raw data into his lyrics as possible. He was also an ardent student of the culture he chronicles in this 1983 cut on the Sonic Sounds label. “Now I dedicate this style to all the DJs over the years who have been champions, from Daddy Roy straight down to King Yellowman, from Josey Wales and Chaplin and even I Early B the Doctor. Laaaaaawd.” Let it go…

Early B “DJ Origination”


Shouting out each “champion” artist not only in the proper chronological order, but grouping them by particular neighborhoods, roads, reputations, and mentor/apprentice lineages, as well as listing many of their breakthrough records, this tune is both a lyrical tour-de-force and a historical treasure trove summarizing two decades of musical evolution in less than three minutes. At the time of this recording, Early B was confident enough to criticize other artists for their lack of education and their tendency to call other artists’s names (especially his own), but still he felt compelled to state “Save a space for the Doctor” as he rolled out his list of champions. Within two years he would cement his own place in the great book of dancehall history with his 1985 smash “Wheely Wheely.”

Just one more? Here’s Early B dropping nonstop lyrics over the Sleng Teng riddim on Killamanjaro Sound. Don’t puzzle your brain trying to figure out why Josey Wales is wearing an album sleeve on his head. Just listen while Early B shocks out so much he has to grip the mic with a plastic bag! Rest easy Doctor.

One Response

  1. Ms. Raine says:

    I used to watch these video tapes as a kid and be hella jealous that I couldn’t go to these dances…no matter how much I begged my parents just wouldn’t let their elementary school daughter attend a dancehall session—haters!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane–back to the days when dancehall was just pure lyrics, riddims, and vibes….

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